Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Back Porch Drafthouse #SupportLocal



As my quest to #SupportLocal continues I was once again looking for a place I had not tried yet and had an open dining room. I asked a friend if he wanted to join me, that way I could get a taste of more than one dish. My appetite is not as hearty as it once was so I don't think I could even try an appetizer with my meal. I could have taken the leftovers I suppose but overall having a friend with you is part of the experience I think if you are not just trying to eat out of necessity. He suggested Back Porch Drafhouse. I had never been there before and I am not sure why. I never heard anything bad about the place so it was time to give them a visit. 

So they do have four locations, two in Oklahoma and two in Texas. This is the kind of restaurant that could really use your support in these times. While they have moved beyond the mom and pop status they are still nowhere near a corporate giant. They are arguably in the most dangerous stage of expansion. Then being forced to shut the dining room down for two months by a pandemic I am sure has put them in a tough spot. I am not sure if they did curbside or delivery but I could not find an option to order food online via their site. 

    

Back Porch Drafthouse has a classic American feel. It looks like those diners I would go into while traveling along Route 66.  They have lots of decore on the walls that range from neon lights, hubcaps, and old signage. Don't get me wrong though, this place was sparkling clean. And I don't remember music playing. That is not to say that there was none but at least if it was it was quiet enough to be what it is supposed to be, background music. I hate going to a place that has a radio blaring. I don't want to fight over the music to talk to my friends. For me, it was the perfect take on a bar that serves great food. Not overbearing and very comfortable. The service was awesome as well. I arrived later than my friend and was never made to feel rushed. She brought me my water then we ordered a beer before we ordered our food. We both decided to try a Martin House Sour Pickle Beer. Goodness, this beer was amazing! I love pickles and have been buying Best Maid Spicy Pickles for awhile now. So this just put two of my favorite things together. I have seen there is a spicy version of this beer so I will keep an eye out for that!



Okay, okay let's get back on track here and talk about the menu. Of course, they are a drafthouse or tap house so they have an awesome beer menu ranging from domestic, imported, and craft beer. On tap, bottled, or caned they have you covered. I would imagine that the craft beer rotates to keep it fresh and up to date with what is going on in the brewery scene. They even had some of our local brewery's beer available which I really appreciate but I had already tired the beer they had on offer. They also offer wine and have a full bar with some house specialties. Not to mention happy hour! (2p.m.-7p.m. Half price domestics.) But the best thing for a foodie like me was the food menu. Talk about a perfectly rounded southern style gastropub selection!

I am so glad they have made it through this pandemic because I have a lot to go back for. This menu was right up my alley. One of the first things I noticed when I walked in was that smokey bbq smell. And you can see it all over the menu. And jalapenos everywhere! So many items have some sort of jalapeno involved somewhere. I am addicted to spicy foods and hot sauce so I just felt so at home here. Let me be clear there are plenty of items that do not have jalapeno and I am sure if you do your due diligence and read the menu you can have them hold the jalapeno. While it seems they specialize in smash burgers there is something for everyone. Salads, soups, wraps, seafood, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and a kids menu for the little ones. 

Alright, let's get into the food we tried! My friend ordered the Mother Porker: Shaved Ham, Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork, Swiss, Jalapeno Bacon Jam, PBR Caramelized Onions, BP Slaw, Pickles, Secret Sauce. With the Fully Loaded Queso Cheese Fries: Killer Queso, Chopped Bacon, Green Onions, Pickled Jalapenos, Buttermilk Ranch

I ordered the Smoked Jalapeno Patty Melt: Butter Toasted Sourdough, Smoked Jalapenos, PBR Caramelized Onions, Swiss, American, Secret Sauce, Pickles I just got regular fries but I did steal his for the photos because they just looked epic. 

We split our sandwiches in half so we could both get a taste, see this is where having a friend comes in super handy! I will start with my patty melt. I had been craving a patty melt, to be honest, so once I saw it and that it had smoked jalapenos on it I was sold. The buttery bread was grill toasted perfectly. Not so much butter I had to wipe my hands every time I reached for my beer. The burger was juicy and the cheese was nice and gooey. The stars though for me were those onions and smoked jalapeno. This patty melt was not spicy though, not sure why. You would expect it to be but it did not have much heat. That was okay with all that flavor packed into this sandwich, it did not even dawn on me until I started writing this. As for the fries I was really happy. I absolutely love skinny shoestring fires and these are the skinniest fries I have had since I moved to Texas ten years ago. Nice and crispy lightly salted scrumptious fry goodness. I did order the secret sauce on the side because I have a love-hate relationship with secret sauce. Some are great and some are just a disaster. This one however was the type I like. It was tangy and not sweet. Next time I will just order this as is. 

Smoked Jalapeno Patty Melt & Fully Loaded Queso Cheese Fry

The Mother Porker was out of this world! Everything on this sandwich just worked so well together. I have started smoking foods recently so I have a new found love for it. The smoked pulled pork just sang! I tried it by itself and I could have easily just eaten this on its own and been happy. Then you had the ham which was grilled so it released some of that fat. I really did not think I would be able to taste the ham but you could for sure. The slaw was crisp and zippy, there is nothing worse than a sad droopy chewy slaw. And this jalapeno bacon jam, let me tell you this stuff is freaking unbelievably tasty. It has a kick, with that salt from the bacon, and sweetness of being a jam this stuff just blew my mind. This is umami in its essence and encapsulates the local area. This is the type of food I would expect you to search out if you visit Texoma. For those of you that aren't from here, this is what the local area is called. It encompasses parts of Northern Texas and Southern Oklahoma. 

The Mother Porker & Fully Loaded Queso Cheese Fries!

The final rating is a 5 out of 5 apples! This place is a must-try!


Now that I have been here I can't believe it took me so long. If you are passing through and looking for that taste of modern southern food this is a place you must consider. I am really looking forward to going back and trying more of the menu. Also, I forgot to mention they have a brunch on Saturdays and Sundays that has its own menu. They have a Sunday Funday Cocktail menu as well, keep in mind that in Texas you can not order alcohol until after 12p.m.! Definitely going to go try this when I get a chance. 

Back Porch Drafthouse Social Media:
            
Love Food, Live Life!

<a href="https://www.zomato.com/wichita-falls-tx/backporch-draft-house-wichita-falls" title="View Menu, Reviews, Photos & Information about Backporch Draft House, Wichita Falls and other Restaurants in Wichita Falls" target="_blank" ><img alt="Backporch Draft House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato" src="https://www.zomato.com/logo/17701639/biglink" style="border:none;width:200px;height:146px;padding:0;" /></a> 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Antojitos Food Truck #SupportLocal



So life took a crazy turn for all of us these last few months. I am not sure many people thought something like Covid-19 could happen in 2020, not to mention the drastic response that came along with it. Shuttering business and "Shelter in Place" orders in nearly every city and state across America putting millions of people out of work. As the country starts reopening and people are going back to work and out to eat once more, you might notice something quite sad. I don't think I need to mention what individual people went, or are still going through. For me, it is seeing that local businesses were hit hardest that makes my heart heavy. Novelty shops, car washes, clothing boutiques, salons, and of course restaurants on the local level may never recover. These small businesses tend to survive on narrow margins and could not be ready for what happened. So now more than ever is the time to support your local businesses. This is difficult I know, corporate stores and restaurants tend to be cheaper and more convenient. Which sucks because many of us are financially crushed. I just urge you to at least once a month if not once a week to try and spend that hard-earned money in businesses that have been hard-fought to keep open. This supports the community as a whole rather than just the employees that work in corporate businesses. 

Okay so with the heavy stuff said it is time to move on. I did some searching online for local restaurants that I wanted to try. Sadly the first two places I went too are closed. Not sure if it is permanent or if they are just waiting until the seating capacity is raised, right now in Texas we are at a 50% maximum capacity for restaurants. Google said these restaurants were open and only serving takeout orders, but when I arrived both of them had handwritten signs in the window, "Sorry Temporarily Closed". I can't tell you how disappointed I was that I never took the time to eat at these places that had excellent reviews. I am determined to not let that happen again. As I was searching for a third restaurant to try I remembered a food truck I had driven by several times last week. So I looked them up on the social media sites, located them, and made my way to the parking lot they were working in for the day. 

Antojitos is a small taco truck with a menu that speaks my language. Sort of a Tex-Mex mix of tacos, shrimp skewers, and a steak sandwich.

The Menu!

I talked to the young man who was working the truck, trying to get more information about how long they had been in business and the history of the owner. This is when I learned he was just a student helping out a teacher. I had to ask if he was in culinary school, maybe the truck was a work experience program of some sort? Nope, he was just a junior in high school who was helping out one of his teachers. He did not have answers to the questions, nor did I expect him too once I learned he was just helping out. The schools are still shut down as of the time of writing this and I was just glad to see that this gentleman was working a food truck and keeping busy. 

After our short chat, I placed my order. I wish I could have ordered one of everything but alas my wallet and stomach could not bear the burden. I mentioned above that it is sort of a Tex-Mex mix of tacos only because of the pulled pork, brisket, and steak sandwich; guess that would be more my mindset than the truth of the matter. I was raised in San Diego and I could see this menu being just as at home there as it is here in Wichita Falls. I expect to pay a bit more for something from a food truck in America, things are just more expensive here in local currency. There is also the fact that market prices are going up on goods. To be honest, though Antojitos is fairly priced for what I ordered. It would be nice if there were a mix and match combo price for ordering different types of tacos but I can't complain. 

Rib Eye, Shrimp, & Pulled Pork Tacos

I ordered a Pulled Pork, Shrimp, and Rib Eye taco. I really wanted to try the sandwich too but they were unavailable when I arrived. Though I was disappointed I again have no complaint, I will just be sure to go back for it! The 6" street style flour tortillas are a good size for something like this. You can't really skimp on the filling or it is glaringly obvious. I paid $11 for my three tacos which looking at the menu price is only ₵.50 more for a mix and match of tacos than the average price of three of a kind. It did not take long to get my order and then I headed home to try this out. They were parked in the lot of a cell phone store and there was no seating available, I really did not want to eat in my car either. For me, that is not an issue because I live close to where they were operating that day. If seating is an issue for you keep that in mind when you pay them a visit. Also, I should not have to mention it but I will. It is a food truck and not a restaurant they really don't have seating unless they are in a food truck park/court or have a permanent location.  

Overall I have to say I was very happy with the food and the service. The guy working the truck offered to bring my food to my car when it was ready and though he could not answer my questions about the business he was very friendly. The pulled pork was not dry which can be a challenge if not cooked and stored properly. The shrimp was freaking cooked perfectly! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical once I learned this guy was just helping out and a high school student. He did not overcook the delicate seafood, hat tip to you good sir! Now I really wish I would have gotten his name to give him full credit. The rib eye was awesome, it is my favorite cut of steak so I was just in heaven! I am a huge fan of cabbage rather than lettuce on my tacos. I feel like the bittersweet can really bring balance to it since there tends to be bold flavors cooked into the protein. Always a sucker for both chipotle and avocado the two sauces were perfect. 


All that said the only thing I have a criticism about is that all three proteins were cooked with the same seasoning.  Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome seasoning that worked well with beef, seafood, and pork, but it did not allow any of the meat to stand on its own. While well cooked and worth the money I just felt like the flavor profile between the three tacos was just too similar. 

All in all, I highly recommend that you stop by this truck for lunch or diner. On that note, they are usually open until 11 p.m.! That is pretty awesome if you ask me. I work in a restaurant so if I can grab a quick bite on a break or after work I feel blessed. Not to mention if I am going to eat something that might be considered "fast food" I would much rather have it come somewhere that pushes street-style tacos that are home-cooked than from the "Bell of Tacos"! It will be worth the extra bit of money you might dole out.


Let me close out by saying when you #SupportLocal you will more than likely spend more money. By doing so you will not prop up major corporations that were able to stay open at a profit loss due to a global pandemic that laid waste to our economy. Keep in mind that big chains and franchises might need to close a few locations, but many of them will come out the other side of this in good order as time goes on. The mom and pop shop owners as well as the people they employ are the ones that need your help most now.  Don't break your own bank to do so but do what you can and keep these entrepreneurs in mind when you go out. 

If you are local to Wichita Falls Tx. what are your favorite local restaurants? What would you recommend me checking out? If you are not in Wichita please feel free to share your local hot spot, I encourage you to post below in the comments. Feel free to share links, unless they are just spam of course. 

Edit: I was contacted by the owner of the truck who apologized for my experience. I told him there was no need to apologize as I was very pleased with my experience, and plan to go back often. He informed me that they have daily and weekend specials as well as some side items that you can make into combos. So be sure to check out their social media to see if they have something you might want to try as a special. Here is the list of specials and sides he messaged me:
Monday: Steak Sandwich 7.99 with a side and a drink. Tuesday: 1.99 spicy chicken Tacos Wednesday: 1.99 Pull Pork Thursday: Nachos 7.99 drink and side. Friday/Sat/Sunday. 4 tacos, side, and drink 7.99 Sides can be nachos or onions rings Some weekends we have Free margaritas and we also have special dishes for sale such as a ceviche/ shrimp cocktail.

The final rating is a 4 out of 5 Apples! You really need to try this food truck!



Antojitos Social Media:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Amy's Tamale Verde - Plant Based Product Review! (Gluten Free!)


Hello everyone! It's time for another plant based product review. I had no idea there were so many options out there. As I have mentioned before I am new to this diet and one of my struggles has been meal planning. I am getting better at it but still struggle a bit. One of my problems is that I just get bored eating the same thing twice in a week. I am always in a time crunch it seems, like the majority of us. It is nice to know that there are healthier fast choices we can make. My fear was that they would be bland and tasteless. Come to find out this is far from the truth!

We have all been there. Getting home from a long day at work and not having the energy or at times the pantry is running bare. As I was talking to a friend at work they mentioned Amy's frozen dinners had some good plant based dinners I should try. So one Saturday night after working a double shift I went to a local market and picked one up.


I chose to try the Tamale Verde. When I got home I poured a glass of wine and popped it in the microwave. It does not look like the meal on the package which is typical. I instantly almost thought I made the wrong choice. As it cooked I began to change my mind. It smelled wonderful. I sat down to eat it and boy was I surprised!


This little meas was actually wonderful! The texture of the masa was perfect. It looked soggy but was not as water logged as it appeared. The chili verde was zesty and had a hint of spice. The problem I have had in the past with frozen meals and rice being dried out was not the case here. The rice cooked perfectly and had a punch of flavor that left me wanting more. As you can see in the picture the filling was not as plentiful as the on the box, but it was just the right amount. One of the issues with even homemade tamales is to much masa. That was not a problem here. I really enjoyed this meal for what it was. My only complaint is the price. These meals while a bit smaller than other frozen meals are about a dollar more. This confuses me. I have been saving money on my grocery bill and these meals cost more? It must be that it is considered a specialty item and maybe they don't sell as many so they need to charge more. If you have an insight as to why they cost more please leave a comment below.


In summary I would recommend Amy's Tamale Verde if your felling lazy or just don't have the time to cook. While slightly better for you than the typical frozen dinner it is of course packed with sodium and other preservatives. The flavor is amazing and the texture of the meal over all was very pleasant. Again I would not make it a habit to eat like this for your health. But I have to admit I have two more in my freezer along with a couple more dinners I want to try.

Remember cooking is only as complicated as you make it! That is if you have the time to cook!

Love food, live life!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Shan's Aloo Bhaji - Plant Based Product Review! (Spicy Curry Potato Soup)




I love trying new foods. One of my problems is that I can get bored rather quickly eating the same thing even a couple times a month. I am sure I am not the only one right? That is one of the reasons I enjoy doing the blog so much. It gives me a reason to cook and try new recipes on a regular basis. I can rotate my favorites in and out and along the way I can swap in new favorites and allow more time before going back to an older one. 

One of my favorite cuisines is Indian, unfortunately there are not many options here in Wichita Falls. I could only find two, and I have tried them both. They are really good actually and now that I am plant based I will have to go back and see what options they offer. Indian food is known for its use of veggies so it should not be unthinkable these restaurants would have a few menu items I will not have to change to fit my new dietary needs.
Okay so enough of all that it is time to get to the point of this post. We have a very cool International Grocers here in Wichita Falls. It is on the corner of Southwest Parkway and Fairway right next to the Little Caesar's. It has tons of raw grains, legumes, beans, spices, and meal mixes. This place is great if you're looking for something different or a decent price on bulk beans, rice, and legumes. It had been some time since I last visited this little shop so I headed back there to see what I could find. This was only my second week of being plant based so I was on the hunt for new flavors.

I browsed the store for a while and decided I would buy some of the Shan Recipe Mixes. This would save me some time since I was still struggling with cooking two to three meals a day and let me try some new and exciting flavors. The first one I decided to try was the Aloo Bhaji, a spicy potato curry soup. I decided to add some more veggies to the recipe which called for tomato, cilantro and chillie peppers. I grabbed some corn, carrots, and chick peas and got to cooking. This recipe was so easy and fast!

All you do is use 8 cups of water and add the veggies with the spice mix and bring to a boil. I was not really in the mood for a soup. I had some leftover rice so I poured some of the Aloo Bahji on top of the rice and garnished with some green onion. Over all I loved this meal. The only complaint I have is that there were Fengu Greek Seeds, these seeds are bitter and I had never had them before. It almost ruined the dish for me. Keep in mind this is just my personal take on these seeds. They really do balance out the rich flavor of the sauce, they are just not my thing.

I would recommend trying trying some of these mixes. If you are in a time crunch these are perfect. If you have always wanted to try new flavors but lack confidence in your cooking skills these recipe mixes are perfect. From what I can tell they are all minimal in the other ingredients you need and have very easy to follow instructions. If you try one let me know about it in the comments below. Let me know your favorite if you have tried them before as well. Remember cooking is only as difficult as you make it! 

(Note that this recipe says it does have traces of Gluten, but if you are not celiac you should have no problem)
View my food journey on Zomato!
Love food, live life!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fried Buffalo Tofu Bites & Garlic Rosemary Fries! Plant Based & Gluten Free!

 Hello again! Time for another plant based recipe. One of the things I have been craving since I changed my diet is buffalo chicken. I loved buffalo chicken nuggets, I never really cared for blue cheese or ranch dressing though. I just enjoyed the spicy tangy flavor of the buffalo sauce. So as I was browsing Pintrest for recipe ideas I stumbled across buffalo tofu nuggets. I also started watching The Vegan Zombie on YouTube and he did a version of this recipe too. So with all this inspiration I made my way to Market Street and got everything I needed to make this happen.

I have a gluten intolerance and I have been eating too much bread lately and I can feel the bad side affects starting to kick in. My stomach is upset and I am starting to get that pesky rash. In light of this I picked up some Bob's Red Mill Organic Corn Flour. Of course I got some tofu, and I picked up some frozen french fries. I was lazy and in a time crunch so the frozen fries were perfect. I really like them too, they cook well and get nice and crispy. Making real crispy homemade french fries is somewhat of a process to do it right.
Here is What You'll Need:
Serving size is for one!

Your favorite frying oil, the size of your pan will dictate how much you need
1/2 Block Tofu (pressed to expel extra liquid)
1 cup of Corn Flour (or other gluten free flour)
Garlic Salt
Black Pepper
Rosemary (fresh is best!)
French Fries
Your Favorite Dipping Sauce

Cooking Instructions:
  1. Make sure your tofu is pressed. Tear it into bite sized chunks. You can cube it if you prefer.
  2. Season tofu with garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Pour some of the Red Hot sauce onto the tofu and let it marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Add oil to a pan and bring up to frying temperature. 
  5. While the oil is reaching temp add corn flour to a mixing bowl. You can add some seasoning to the flour for a richer flavor.
  6. Add tofu to flour and coat. You may need to add a bit more sauce as this is our drenching liquid. I double coated mine, I like a thick crispy crust. To do this when you are done with the first coating just repeat the coating process.
  7. Add breaded tofu to the pan. Be careful of splash back.
  8. If your pan is big enough feel free to add the fries to the same pan. There is no harm in doing this and is what I did.
  9. When your tofu is done add it to a mixing bowl and coat with more Red Hot.
  10. When your fries are ready season them with pepper, garlic salt and rosemary.
That's it! Quick and easy!  I really enjoyed this recipe. The tofu nuggets even look like chicken when you tear them open. It really reminded me of the real thing. Giving your tofu time to absorb the flavors helps a lot. This is the first time I have used the corn flour and found it delightful. It is more fine than a traditional flour and not using eggs to coat the tofu dose not give the same fluffy yet crispy breading. But that was fine for me. With the double bread coating I had just the right amount of breading for my taste. The garlic rosemary fries are a recipe I make a lot and one of my favorite sides for meals like this.

This would be a great party snack too at your next party! As always play with the recipe and make it your own, that's exactly what I did. It is certainly not the healthy meal but sometimes you just need to eat some plant based junk food. It hit the spot for me and helped me curb those cravings during my transition period. I am so glad I made this change, I am having so much fun getting back in my kitchen and trying all these new recipes. If you try this one out please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Always remember cooking is only as hard as you make it!

Love food, live life!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Pho Viet - Pho Chay! - Plant Based Options In Wichita Falls Pt. 2


I continue my quest to find plant based menu options in Wichita Falls! My goal is to find and compile a list of menu options to make life a bit easier for all of us who are going on a plant based diet. I am sure you can go to almost any restaurant and customize a menu item to fit your needs, but for now I am looking for restaurants that offer items we do not need to customize. I will dabble in menu customization as well at some point.

My second recommendation is Pho Viet, a small restaurant off Callfield and Reha Rd. They are a Vietnamese restaurant with a small dining room and a full menu. They have 3 vegetarian entrees and one vegetarian appetizer, but if you look close these are plant based and contain no animal products. This is one of those places you could easily customize several of the other menu items to find more options. The staff is very friendly and they offer to go service as well.

Let's get to the meal and my experience! I went there at around 4:00 p.m. and there were only a few other people there which was sad. The wait staff was very friendly and the food was amazing. In this modern age of corporate restaurants it can be challenging to find an affordable fresh hand made dining experience. This is changing as diners are growing more food savvy and are seeking out more family owned restaurants. We are lucky here in Wichita Falls too, there are plenty of these restaurants here. This is why it was sad to see the place somewhat empty.

I was able to chose my own table which was very nice. I like to sit by the window so I can view the outside world. It is also good lighting for taking pictures of the food! I was handed a menu and given plenty of time to look it over. I am not fond of a server making several trips back to the table asking if I am ready to order. I already knew what I wanted when I walked in but wanted to browse the rest of the menu. When I was ready I set the menu off to the side and the server promptly came to the table and took my order. I wanted to try the Pho Chay, a tofu and rice noodle bowl of pho with mushrooms, carrots, and Napa cabbage. It also comes with a plate of bean sprouts, lime, jalapeno, and basil. It is also gluten free! You should tell them if you are celiac to help avoid cross contamination during preparation.

The broth is light and refreshing. There are plenty of rice noodles too so this dish should hit the spot if you are very hungry. I do not care much for cooked mushrooms but these were a delight. They absorbed the flavor of the broth and the earthy flavor of the mushroom was not overpowering. The cabbage and carrots did the same and were not over cooked to mush and had a great texture.  Once you add the bean sprouts this dish is full of fresh vegetables and if you know how to use chopsticks you will have no problem using them. The tofu was spongy, I am new to tofu but I get the feeling this is just how it is. They fry the tofu before adding it to the pho and I think this plays into its texture.

You can enjoy the pho just like this, but if you are like me you want some heat! The table is set with two types of hot sauce and a chili paste. I like this setup because you can add the perfect amount of heat. One hot sauce was a more traditional taco sauce. The other sauce was a chili sauce with plenty of pepper flakes. The chili paste looks scary and adds more heat than flavor. There was also a plum sauce which I did not try.

Overall I was very happy with the Pho Chay. I will be going back for this for sure and I am looking forward to trying the other plant based dishes they have on the menu. I highly recommend this place if you have not been there before. If you have never tried pho you need to treat yourself to this healthy and hearty version of the classic Vietnamese dish.

I give this a 4 out of five apples! It is a must try. Now get out there and support local restaurants and great healthy menu options!

Love food, live life!


Pho Viet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Gluten Free Spaghetti & Tofurkey Italian Sausage(Sausage is not GF) - Plant Based!

I love pasta! This has been quite an uphill battle since I have developed a gluten intolerance. Finding a good gluten free pasta has not been easy. I think I found a winner though! Heartland Gluten Free pasta is actually really good. The other gluten free pastas I tried were very starchy and did not hold together well. Heartland is a corn and rice based pasta and holds up when being cooked with a nice flavor too.

I had been on my plant based diet for a week and the craving for meat I have to say was getting to me. I almost caved a couple times. One night I was shopping at Wal-Mart looking for inspiration for dinner when I saw Tofurky Italian sausage links. Prior to the my only tofu experience was at a friends house for dinner and he served tofu sausage links. It was not until we were done that he let us know that it was actually tofu. I knew the texture was off but the flavor was really good. With this memory in mind I found my inspiration!

I grabbed some veggies found the gluten free pasta bought some pasta sauce and headed home. I would normally make a sauce but it was getting late and I was tired so I cheated. I found a good sauce though, Newman's Own. Newman's has a wide variety and it is a non-profit company so I did not feel as bad for cheating. So enough of my short story, lets get cooking!


Here is what you'll need:
Gluten free pasta
1/2 zucchini diced
1/4 red bell pepper cut into strips
1/4 green bell pepper cut into strips
1 small carrot cut into rounds
1/2 sweet onion cut into strips
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 Tofurkey Italian sausage link
2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
 a few leaves of basil chopped with some reserved for garnish

Cooking Instructions:
  1. Bring about 6 cups of water to boil in a pot
  2. While waiting for water to boil add olive oil to a pan and saute all of your veggies. You can cook the sausage link in the same pan at the same time. Add the garlic and basil towards the end of the cooking process. Be sure not to over cook the veggies.
  3. By now you should be adding the pasta to the water. 
  4. Reduce heat on your pan of veggies and add your sauce. Heating the sauce with the veggies and sausage will allow all the flavors to combine. Cover with a lid and bring up to a simmer.
  5. When the pasta is done drain and toss into your vegetable sauce. Plate and serve!
There you go! A quick easy and healthy plant based meal. If  your in a rush this is the perfect meal.
It may have been my craving for meat but the Tofurkey sausage really hit the spot. The Heartland pasta was a refreshing change to the other horrible gluten free pastas I have tried. If you cook this up for yourself let me know how it turns out. As always feel free to let your creativity flow by adding what ever veggies you like. Thanks for dropping by the blog and I hope you will come back soon and see what else I have cooking up! 



Love food, live life!